Poaching by fax angers hotelier

01 January 2000
Poaching by fax angers hotelier

By Angela Jameson

A Northumberland hotelier has hit out at another hotel's attempt to poach her staff by sending them an unsolicited fax.

Doreen Johnson, co-proprietor of the 10-bedroom Breamish Country House Hotel in Powburn, intercepted a fax sent by the management of the 19-bedroom Studley Priory Hotel, in Horton-Cum-Studley, Oxfordshire. The fax was clearly designed to attract the attention of Mrs Johnson's reception staff.

The message said that the Studley Priory Hotel was looking to fill the position of reception team leader and it promised a £100 welcome bonus, plus accommodation, a competitive salary and a loyalty bonus after a trial period.

Mrs Johnson, who has owned Breamish Country House Hotel with her husband for eight years, told Caterer she was furious about the fax. "This is totally unethical. I have never received anything like it before," she said.

When she rang the Oxfordshire hotel to complain, a duty manager said that since Studley Priory Hotel had had some of its own staff poached in this manner, it had decided to use the same recruitment tactic.

"Naive as I am, I imagined there was some sort of code of conduct between those of us in the industry," Mrs Johnson said.

Mark Bright, general manager of Studley Priory Hotel, refused to comment on any aspect of the incident.

However, Jeremy Parke, proprietor of the hotel, said it was not a recruitment method he approved of. But he declined to say what action he would be taking.

"It is not hotel policy to make direct contact with other hotels. I cannot say what has happened on this occasion until I have investigated further," Mr Parke said.

Roddy Watt, chief executive of Berkeley Scott recruitment agency, called the scheme an "appalling practice", which he said he had never come across before.

"It is a very tacky way of going about business. If everyone did it this industry would be a pretty appalling place to work," Mr Watt said.

Julie Gilligan, consultant at recruitment agency Portfolio, agreed that it was an unethical method of trying to attract staff. "I have never heard of it before and wouldn't consider it to be a discreet way of recruiting," she said.

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